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Everything posted by jkdelauney

  1. I've been looking into options for VPS hosting, and thought I'd ask you all if you had any favorite companies, or ones I should just avoid. I asked this via Twitter, and for the most part got nothing useful, so here's what I'm looking for/not looking for. First and foremost, the company must offer FreeBSD as a guest OS. I'm not interested in a company that does something else, but if I give them an ISO file they'll install it. I also am not interested in running CentOS, Debian, Fedora, Slack, or any other Linux distro. I only really need 128MB for the server, though more RAM for no more money isn't something I'll complain about. 10GB of disk space is fine, but again more space if it doesn't cost more, is awesome. Monthly bandwidth isn't that much of an issue at the moment. Most companies seem to offer at least 100GB, and that is fine. I only need one IPv4 address, I don't want to pay for more. I would LIKE to have the option of at least one IPv6 address, but that's not a deal breaker as I don't NEED it right now, and tunneling is my friend. I'm not looking for managed hosting, I can run it myself, though having support staff I can bounce questions off of is a plus. Which means root is mine, not just sudo. So far I'm looking at JohnCompanies and RootBSD. In both cases their basic package is enough. Obviously no contracts and no setup fees is preferred, but if the deal is good enough it might not be a deal breaker. I'm actually more interested in 'stay away' opinions than 'they're good' opinions, but either is appreciated.
  2. Oh, I've got links... all kinds of links. As well as opinions, and advice, and other comments. I won't get all drawn out here, but here's a few resources I use to help me out. Circuit Simulator This is a seriously awesome thing. A nifty Java app that lets you build simple logic and RF circuits, and monitor their output. It also comes with a large number of pre designed circuits you can tweak. Great for working out specific values to get the desired response from timers, counters, ect. It also includes an import/export function so you can save your work for later use. Power Calculator Handles simple voltage/amperage/wattage calculations. Actually the whole website is full of electronics awesomeness. SparkFun A US based electronics hobby supplier. They have odd/unique parts to help in the rapid prototyping of anything small, portable, and fun that you might be able to dream up. Not a great source for 'common parts', but for hard to find things, or pre-made widgets to get you on your way, they're great. They also have a growing library of how-to and advice articles as well as a very active forum. They ship promptly, pack very well, and everything comes in really bright red cardboard boxes, which can double as storage boxes, or even project cases in a pinch. Seeed Studio Like SparkFun, but based out of China. They carry more exotic parts, and the prices are a little better on some things. But it's coming from China, so shipping is more, and it takes longer. They have an active message forum, but lack the library of how-to stuff. Both Seeed Studio and SparkFun offer custom PCB (printed circuit board) services. As for tips: When bread boarding, try not to use wires longer than you need. Long wires are harder to trace, and all wire causes electrical loss. Not a big deal for simple projects, but things that require high voltage or capacitance accuracy can be rendered unusable if your wires are too long... and troubleshooting that can be a pain. Obey voltage and amperage limits. Shoot for less than the rated limit to leave room to work in, and to keep from blowing out your parts because something got shorted out, or another part failed. PTC Resistors (resettable fuses) are your friends. Learn what they are, and use them. You can get them for $1 or less a piece in small quantities, or much less in bulk. They will save your projects from short circuits, and incorrect amperage calculations. 1N4001 Rectifier Diodes are also your friends. There are other useful values, but this one is dirt cheap even in very small quantities, and are great for keeping your components safe if you should decide one day that hooking your power supply up backwards is a very good idea. (it isn't) Generally speaking breadboards are made for 20 and 22 gauge wire. You can use smaller (24,26, even 28, and 30) but on heavily used boards those smaller wires won't stay in place well. Larger gauge wire, like 18, will work, but will stretch the contacts in the board and then smaller wires won't work, or worse will only work occasionally. Then you'll be troubleshooting your wiring work when it's a bad contact. LEDs (generally) aren't as concerned about voltage as they are about amperage. All LEDs have max voltage and amperage ratings, but you can some times play fast and lose with the voltage using many different tricks. Going over the average amperage rating can quickly lead to thermal runaway, and kill not only your LED, but maybe other things in line with them. (that's where the PTCs can help out, too) When it comes time to design a board to solder things up on. There's no reason you need to make a custom board for a simple one off project. Pre drilled protoboards with single and double wide pads on them are great for simple projects, and can be picked up anywhere you can find electronic components. Learn to solder. I'll repeat that. LEARN TO SOLDER. There are a LOT of videos online on how to do it. Most are actually showing you the right way. Watch some. Practice on scrap wire. Do it often. Use a good iron. Sure you can get a cheap iron for very little at Radio Shack, and for simple repairs it's o'kay (that's what I use) but if you're heating up your iron more than once a month or so do yourself the favor of getting a good iron with adjustable temp. Also, ALWAYS keep your tip clean. A dirty tip doesn't transfer heat well. The fumes released from solder rosin (or resin if you prefer) is toxic. Work in a well vented area. If you need to get in close to the thing you're working on to see it clearly, wear a face mask. Cancer is bad, m'kay. Datasheets are your friends. They can look daunting, and most are, but learning how to read, and understand them will not only save you time and money in designing your projects, but will be a large help if things don't work like you expect them to. Oh, and one more link. Mouser Electronics When you're ready to get parts in bulk, or just need something hard to find. Their prices are very good, even for single items. Their website catalog system is The Awesome with a side of Dope Sauce. Shipping is extremely prompt. They offer a lot of shipping options, and their project/order management system is robust enough for business use, but simple enough to be useful to any hobbyist. I don't know what kind of work you're looking to do, or what you already know. You can't go wrong, though, with taking old non working hardware apart, and tracing out the boards. Identify the parts, look them up, see what they do. Figure out why it was put together the way it was. Reverse engineering is a great way to learn, because you already know it works, you only have to figure out why. If you have an specific questions, feel free to ask. I know enough that if I can't find the answer I can find a resource that you can use to get the answer.
  3. As has been said, most of what you need is already installed, or comes on the install CD/DVD. Just a note, though, depending on function of the tool (especially network stuff) you might find they don't compile or will but won't run if it was coded specifically with a Linux kernel in mind. In that case you might find using something intended for one of the BSD variants more willing to work. OS X is a distant cousin, a few times removed, from the BSD tree. While there are a lot of differences, they have more in common than OS X does with Linux. That said, much of what's out there will work with little or no modification. If you want stuff that's going to 'just work', look at The MacPorts Project. There are a LOT of X11, command line, and even Aqua applications in there, and it's REALLY easy to use the ports system if you have even just a little command line experience. It'll save you from all that 'does this really work' mucking about.
  4. I solved it many hours ago, I'm just not allowed to claim the prize. :P Well I didn't get a confirmation on part 4, but I got part three already.
  5. Nope, not saying that at all. Just saying that brute forcing it isn't going to get you everything you need. Gotta actually solve it.
  6. Brute forcing it isn't the answer... won't really help. That's all I'm gonna say. Oh, and no my attack didn't finish, though it would have gotten the password... eventually. I'm letting it run, though, just to see how long it actually takes.
  7. Part one and two were almost too easy but still made me think, part three has got me stumped. At work, so not much I can do until I get home, but I have a process working on it in the mean time. Nicely done Darren, this is fun.
  8. o'kay, so I'm slacking, but the details (more or less) of my home network are at project-gigabit. The whole 'work in progress' thing. Of course if it weren't would I really be a geek? ;D
  9. There's no reason to put a 7805 between the battery pack and the Fon as you're just doubling up on regulators, and as most 78XX units need about 1.5V to 2V more than the output voltage you'd have to use 5 AAs or 6 if you're using rechargeable cells. (4 rechargeable AAs is already cutting it close to under powering the Fon's internal regulator) That also wouldn't give any longer life. To extend the life you'd want to add parallel arrays of batteries. So two sets of 4 AA series wired in parallel, or just using 4 C or D cells would give you more mAh and thus more run time. As for a charging system, that wouldn't be too hard, though designing the charging circuit so it would fit in the pineapple along with everything else might be a little tricky, but certainly doable. Would likely have to use a trickle charger though, as the caps needed for a rapid charger would really cramp the Fon.
  10. hehe, a series of episodes could be done on IPv6... I'd like to see some love shown. Heck, I'd be willing to do the segments. Of course from a setup/admin point of view v6 isn't hard... it's actually easier than v4. From a application coding, and embedded device implementation point of view, though. Well it can get messy.
  11. I tail /var/log/system.log and /var/log/appfirewall.log along with the usual internal/external v4 and external v6 addresses, ram, cpu, uptime stuff. Need to rewrite my IP scripts so that it'll pull from what ever the active interface is, but I'm lazy like that. :D
  12. jkdelauney


    I jump around a lot, so no I really haven't revisited it much since that episode. I have automated a few things on my network with it, but nothing special. At the moment I'm playing with the teensy, and in general setting up an electronics workbench. Have a few things on the back burner that will likely make use of PHP, those will come to light sooner rather than later I hope.
  13. I would definitely have to second the use of w3schools.com, as that's what I used to learn the little bit of PHP I used in ep502. I really should get around to finishing that thing... if nothing else work out the security issues. :D
  14. jkdelauney


    I can't say I found it by accident, but I definitely wasn't looking. I was just glancing through the downloadable content on my TiVo, and came across it. Which means I started watching in season 4. After a few episodes I was hooked, and went back to watch all the past ones. As for how it's changed my life? For one it got me to learn the basics of PHP, which then got me on the show. :D Also, I've recently rediscovered the joy of electronics and circuit design. Took basic classes in high school, but after that just managed to fall out of it for a while. I forgot how much I liked the smell of hot solder rosin, and the giddy satisfaction of seeing a once dark piece of plastic and metal light up as a bright happy LED. Also, living as close to the crew as I do, it's brought me a great group of people that I'm very glad to know. Not to mention getting to meet a bunch of cool people like FreezerBurn, mubix, and then that jerk squeegi. Man he sucks. *grin*
  15. Going to have to go with dr0p on this, if you're running a server, or doing a lot of 'server' tasks on a multi-purpose machine. FreeBSD isn't a bad desktop OS either, but it's not really desktop friendly right away. Takes a little tweaking. Having used OpenBSD, but as I understand it's just as stable. O'kay, I'm a BSD fanboy. I admit it. There, are you happy? :D
  16. I've been using DropBox for about four months now, and loving it. Didn't know about the refer program, but I don't go to the website much. Will have to drop a link on my blogs. Wow, I just typed blogs with an S. I have blogs. When did that happen?!?
  17. This bag has two load outs that I'll change up depending on how I think the day will go or if I'm going to work. Both have the following: Belkin 3 port surge arrest w/2 USB charging ports iPhone w/USB cable iPhone ear buds Emergency funds Folding knife (to protect the emergency funds) Various candies Notepad 1 Pen, 1 Fine point Sharpie, 1 Yellow highlighter A few USB thumb drives, including a U3 drive that I haven't decided on a payload for yet so it just carries portable Firefox and OOo Work: PSP w/charger Palm LifeDrive w/USB cable (for data storage) Plantronics desk phone headset w/quick release connector (I'm a desk jockey/Technical support) General: 13" MacBook w/charger which takes up the space the work stuff would occupy.
  18. Don't know if they paid for exclusivity, though I suppose it wouldn't surprise me all that much. I've been thinking about getting a Series 3 TiVo, so that would deal with it... though perhaps an linux build that can do Netflix released for the PS3. Maybe a custom boxee build for the PS3. *ponder*
  19. Well my first linux distro was Slack, though I don't remember what release. My first open source OS was FreeBSD 2.2.6 and I've spent a lot of time in *nix OSes since.
  20. jkdelauney


    Just to toss my own assorted 'me too' into the pile: For most uses I am primarily a Mac user. I am a very big believer in using the right tool for the job, though. My main machine since October is my 13" Mac Book which I keep an install of Windows XP on to play Evil Genius, and incase I need to run a program for which there is no Mac equivalent. My primary 'desktop' machine is also a Mac, and older G4 iLamp, though I also have an old AMD machine running XP connected to my TV for the occasional display of data in large scale (such as during the presidential election I had a map up from the Windows machine, and local news up in a PIP box). I have an old Gateway 2100 Solo which has FreeBSD 4.9 on it, which I keep on hand for network administration, testing wireless range, and the like. For network services I always fall back to FreeBSD, as it does anything I care to throw at it, and I know it well. In the end, for me, it's all about what you're going to do with the gear, and what OSs you're comfortable with.
  21. The one thing I was hoping to hear, updated AppleTV, didn't happen. The updates to iPhoto are nifty, and might make me upload pictures to my flickr account more often, but not that big of a deal as there are a number of Mac applications that will handle it. The ability for facebook users to tag others in my posted photos and have it push back to iPhoto is cool, but I don't put that many pictures up on facebook... and most of my pictures don't have people in them. Longer lasting battery in the 17" MB Pro is neat, but how about just releasing a battery with those specs for the existing MB line. Sure I can get about 4 hours or so out of my 13" unibody MB, but a few extra hours would be nifty. I was just really hoping for a AppleTV with a few more horses under the hood so boxee could get Netflix working on it. Oh well, I guess I'll have to keep hoping that Sony puts Netflix on the PS3, or that Apple fixes the random loss of video issue with the mini display to VGA adapter.
  22. Just to toss my 'me too' in here. Been a fan of OOo since the early early days. Use it exclusively for word processing and presentation work. Keep it on all my machines at home (Mac and Windows) and carry the portable version on one of my thumb drives for when I'm at places where I can't, or don't want to install it. Like at work. <me_too/>
  23. The 12 year old boy in me is trying really hard not to say anything dumb here. I had to respond, but I'm not gonna say it... not gonna say it.
  24. I just got a 2GB Cruzer Titanium from Amazon for free (I won a $25 gift card off raffstar.com) that's the one that says it can live through 2,000 lbs crushing force. I haven't applied a payload to the drive, yet... but like BattZ said most are pretty small, so pretty much any of them will be fine for 'switchblade' applications. I guess the important question is are you going to use it for portable storage too, or just for 'trouble shooting and security' *grin*.
  25. That's why you use a flat rate box... now the amount of compression needed to get a person in a flat rate box, that's another story.
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